Monday, August 11, 2014

Medical Tourism

We "wasted" our summer vacation on a painful surgical procedure in Cleveland, but we're not bitter :)

Destination: Cleveland, Ohio.  The kind of city that makes border agents raise their little eyebrows and ask "Why?" and then red flag you anyway for your return trip. Because they know what we now know: there is no good reason for going to Cleveland. It's a gritty city, mostly forgotten by time and progress, abandoned in places that should be built up, untended by its elderly population who still fly tattered flags and display sun-bleached, cat-scratched lawn gnomes, but where youth have fled, no grasses are mown, no cracks repaired, no cars purchased this century. It's the kind of place where, if you deign to use a public restroom, you make sure your travel companion stays firmly within "screaming distance" and then you don't sit, you hover, and hope you're up to date on your shots. It's the kind of place where hotel staff don't feel pressured to conform to normal hygiene standards, or use the proper contraction for "is not."

Ohio is a drunk-uncle state. Not particularly wanted or respected or remotely useful, but for reasons no one can now remember, part of the family, and kind of hard to eject. Everyone else is rightfully embarrassed that Ohio keeps showing up to Christmas dinner, as it were, and asking for handouts while they're there. You see, Ohio has no shame. Its major exports are begging and pleading, with imports of all the pity it can muster. "Please let us build the Pro Football Hall of Fame," it will whine, "no one visits us unless they're forced to!" And so America the great occasionally throws Ohio a bone - the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a booming Olive Garden franchise, and a couple of world-class medical facilities just to round out the experience. They've crunched the numbers, and it turns out people who are suicidal with back pain are more likely than healthy people to be willing to come to Cleveland, and now they've built an industry to support it. There are private clinics springing up between boarded up pawn shops, and dirty "extended stay" motels and neighbourhood Applebees to go along with them, because patients usually bring a caretaker, and so a beautiful thing called "medical tourism" is born, and Ohio is all over it like a tramp on chips.


kenju said...

That's a pretty interesting take on Ohio. I haven't found a compelling reason to go there since my aunt and uncle, who lived in Warren, passed
away. I suspect that the clinic is a main reason people go to Ohio. I hope they were able to do something about the back pain.

Wil said...

My experience in Akron last fall was similar. There is something peculiar about white folk all smiling and grinning gap toothed while workers of another color kept asking if there was racism as bad in "the Maine" as there is in Ohio. Mighty peculiar. And the Amish and .Mennonites beat horses and children, don'tcha know.